Letter from the President

Dear Dental Therapy Community,

I'm so happy to be writing to you today, as I catch my breath from the whirlwind of activity and accomplishments these past few months. We have come a long way and I wanted to provide an update as my term approaches its end and I pass the baton to Sarah Chagnon, the incoming 2023 Board President. 

Since the end of May 2022, we have been hard at work to improve the organization and functionality of the ADTA. A crucial component of that process was hiring an Interim Executive Director after receiving an in-kind donation of $30,000 from Community Catalyst. It was a new experience supervising the Interim Executive Director through weekly check-ins, regular communications and updates on activities to the Board. We planned and collaborated on the implementation of Board Development activities such as strategic planning meetings for the Board to develop 3-year goals; two Board trainings on roles and responsibilities and conflict transformation; and met one-on-one with each Board member to review new annual Board agreements for each Board member to sign to ensure future board member accountability and engagement.  

To create a solid foundation for the IRS to approve our 501c3 application, we updated the ADTA Articles of Incorporation and bylaws. We submitted the new application and are still awaiting its approval. We also applied and received fiscal sponsorship from Heluna Health. Heluna Health is a large, experienced and well resourced fiscal sponsor. They will support ADTA to remain financially solvent. As part of our fiscal sponsorship agreement, I attended an onboarding process and met with our assigned HR generalist, accountant, and grants manager. Further, the ADTA passed a balanced budget for the first time and now provides a budget-to-actual financial report each month to the Board of Directors for review.

To maintain consistency with other national professional organizations, we legally changed our organizational name to the American Dental Therapy Association. We also updated our logo to a more modern, streamlined version that goes well with our new modern website.  Our new website was designed to be a hub for all things dental therapy related and a self-service membership base. We customized a member only portal for ADTA members that encompasses photos, continuing education opportunities, events, job postings, social media and opportunities to join working groups and committees. Finally, we expanded opportunities for membership to include allies, organizations, students, and honorary members.

For our dental therapy community, we organized and hosted the Quarterly National Dental Therapy Student Gathering to bring dental therapy students together and learn how we can better support them. Additionally, our Annual Meeting registered more than 107 people registered and over 80% attended virtually with 9 amazing national presenters. Over 45 people received 2 CEs because of a special agreement with the ARCORA Foundation, who has generously agreed to sponsor our CEs for the next six years.

Externally, we have cultivated new partnerships with the Society for American Indian Dentists, National Indian Health Board, Native Oral Health Network, Community Health Aide Program/TAG and Dental Therapists in the United Kingdom in addition to new funding partners, contributing almost $200,000 in grants for the ADTA to support a permanent executive director. The ADTA has also signed on as Co-Chair to the National Partnership for Dental Therapy (NPDT) and has been involved in developing a new partnership agreement and strategic plan for the NPDT.  

To further elevate the work of the ADTA, I presented at national conferences including the Minnesota Dental Therapy Association Conference, National Indian Health Board Annual Meeting, IHS/Community Health Aide Program/TAG and Native Oral Health Network. 

As you can see, the ADTA has gone through a significant amount of transformation over the past 6 months. With our eyes towards the future, I am confident that the organization is poised to expand dental therapy and advocate for outstanding patient-centered oral health care in underserved communities. I have no doubt that we will be successful under the strong leadership of Sarah. It has been an honor to be your president and I thank you for your trust in my leadership. Please join the ADTA as a member and stand with us as someone who stands for equity. If you are looking to become more involved, we are hiring an executive director - please send me an email if you are interested! I look forward to what we can do together in the future.


Kari Ann Kuntzelman

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